Excalibur Online

Evil Technology

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Technology is everywhere, from the laptops and plasma displays of the Student Centre to the phone tucked away in your pocket. We wear battery-operated devices on our wrists to tell time and tiny speakers in our ears to pass the time.

Let's not forget that technology, being defined as the application of science to industrial or commercial objectives, is responsible for just about everything we see around us. Whether it's the machinery that pumps the oil that is used to make your water bottle or the furnaces that forged your gold necklace, it's all thanks to technology.

But is there a negative side? Well, sure: If it wasn't for guns, bombs, knives, tanks and the like, wars would merely be glorified street fights. You might hear, "Ow, my arm. Okay, that's enough! Uncle! I give up," which would result in a prisoner of war. A general would decide to surrender if he saw too many of his troops bruised-up or start running away. And the Geneva Convention would simply consist of one rule: "No sticks or stones".

Well ok, it might not be quite that orderly - but it's fairly certain to say it would never end up with the accidental bombings of wedding parties as what has happened at least a few times in the current war in Iraq. It would never end in destroying entire cities of people, as what has happened in World War II.

Since I know many people's eyes glaze over when they hear something like "destroying entire cities" due to the sheer incomprehensible magnitude of such a thing, I'll put it in a way that people seem to care more about: Thousands of innocent dogs suffer and die violent deaths. Thousands of helpless cats are crushed, burned and torn apart. And let's not forget all the babies. There, think about that the next time you hear a "boring" casualty count of civilian deaths.

So, what can we as York students do to reduce the "bad technology" out there? Here are some suggestions.

First of all, follow Google's motto of "Don't be evil". This will go a long way. Secondly, when you get a job at DuPont (the chemical maker famous for Teflon and infamous for many other hazardous chemicals) and they ask you to work on the new "Death Gel" project, refuse!

Are you good with computers? Then don't take that job designing a cruise missile. Leave that to the government. When someone tells you that guns don't kill people, people kill people, tell them that people do indeed kill people, so it's best not to give them guns.

Strive to support education anywhere and everywhere you can. Spread the wealth, spread the education and you won't need to shake your head at blockheaded leaders as much, because the leaders will be less blockheaded.

When you end up in an influential position after graduation, encourage the use of Microsoft products to government and military agencies. In this way, confidential document revisions and private information in Microsoft Word file headers will continue to expose politicians' lies. Plans to invade other oil-rich countries will occasionally be lost in Windows reboots. And Outlook's "Reply All" button will ensure people will know what others really think of them when they get an e-mail with the subject "Can you believe what this jerk sent me", immediately following one that says "Thank you for your concern".

Get the idea? Every little bit counts.

I believe in a world with large screen TVs and DVD players, where the only bombs are the ones Hollywood makes.

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